Rock ‘n’ Roll Bolero is a non-album single from the rock band Slade. It was written by lead singer Noddy Holder and bassist Jim Lea. The single was released via Barn Records on 6 October 1978 and failed to appear in the UK chart.
Much like most of Slade’s singles of the time, this song failed to make any impact upon release, continuing the band’s low popularity. It was the fourth single to fail the UK chart since the band’s rise to fame, following the failure of the previous football themed single “Give Us a Goal”.
The single was released on 7″ vinyl only in the UK, Germany and Belgium.
The song featured the return of Lea’s electric violin, the first time on a single since 1971, recalling the band’s first number one hit “Coz I Luv You”.
This was the band’s second single to be produced by themselves, the first being the previous single “Give Us a Goal”. The b-side “It’s Alright Buy Me” was exclusive to the single, eventually appearing on CD via the 2007 Salvo compilation B-Sides and the remaster of the 1977 album Whatever Happened to Slade. The b-side’s lyrics refer to being on the road for touring.
“Rock ‘n’ Roll Bolero” was later included as a bonus track on the remaster of the 1977 album Whatever Happened to Slade, the 2006 Japanese Air Mail Archive remaster of the 1979 album Return to Base, and part of the 2006 four-disc box set The Slade Box. It was also included on the unofficial 2006 Groove Master release Gospel According to Noddy!.
In the UK, no artwork was included with the single, whilst in Germany, the artwork used the same photos of the band from the 1978 live album Slade Alive Vol 2, which would be released later in the month. In Belgium, the artwork was the same but in black and white instead.
In the September–December 1986 Slade fan club magazine, the poll results were announced for the 1986 opinion poll based on Slade’s material. For the best non-hit singles, Rock ‘n’ Roll Bolero placed at #2.
In recent years, the track has become increasingly popular, gathering approx 80,000 views on YouTube.
A vinyl acetate of the single is known to exist.
Roger Taylor of Queen has, at times, closed his own solo shows with a rendition of the song. In In a MTV news article of 31 March 1999, author Angela Solomon spoke of a concert the day before at Wolverhampton’s Wulfrun Hall, where the drummer was joined on stage by his former bandmate Brian May. The article had stated “But the real screams came when Taylor unveiled his surprise, on the second encore of the night. “Ladies and gentlemen, joining us tonight is Sir Brian May!” Silhouetted against white light and smoke, May, Queen’s lead guitarist and the force behind much of their heavy-rock sound, strutted onstage to thunderous applause and foot-stamping, his distinctive hair and profile unchanged since the band’s heyday. Through the maze of waving hands, he grabbed a guitar, played a few chords to warm up and then launched with Taylor into a stomping rendition of Slade’s “Rock and Roll Bolero.”